Surviving College-Move-InDear Kid,

Yesterday we moved you in to your dorm. The whole thing went amazingly well (even the part where it rained like crazy right after we’d taken all your stuff to your room). I had been anticipating a fairly difficult day, and I was delighted to be completely wrong.

Having survived move-in and having spoken with other parents about the process, I now consider myself A Complete Expert on Dorm Move-in. As an expert, I feel obligated to share Advice for Parents on College Move-In Day.

So without further ado, here are the seven tips for a successful dorm move-in day.

Waterproof Mascara

It’s not that you’re going to cry. Of course not. You’ve been preparing this child for college for 18 years. (Too bad you forgot to train yourself to let go.) No tears. OK, maybe a few tears of happiness, but that’s all. Moving a child into a dorm is hot, sweaty work. Waterproof mascara will keep you looking good through sweat or rain. If you don’t plan to wear mascara at all, ignore this and pretend I said Six Tips for College Move In.

A Hefty Supply of Patience

I want to put up a big sign: Attention Parents—This is NOT a reality show where the first person completely moved in gets free tuition. Not that it would do much good. Somehow overzealous parents are of the belief that getting there FIRST is Critically Important. (Aren’t they proud of the things they are teaching their child?) Maybe they are just excited about getting the house all to themselves and converting the bedroom into a home gym. Other parents are busy being offended by the wait they and their child must endure. (Small elevator. Small stairwell. Many people. Much luggage. Do the math, people. Waiting is inevitable.)

A Full Tank of Gas

There is nothing worse than an impatient child (or spouse) fussing because of a three minute delay to fill up the gas tank. Or if there is something worse, I can’t discuss it here.


Capture the Moment!!! Share all 956 photos of the dorm room on Facebook. Be sure to include the moment when the Kid is crankiest.

A Snack

You’ve arrived at the dorm. You’ve finally wrangled most of the Kid’s belongings into the room. Now you face the task of unpacking and shoehorning the entire U-Haul truck’s inventory into 3 drawers and six hangers. You’re thinking the best plan will be to get lunch (since it’s already 2:30p) and then unpack. The Kid has other ideas. Dampen tempers and boost your patience level with a snack. (You are not required to share the snack since you “suggested” several many times that the Kid bring a snack too and your suggestions were met with derision and eye rolling. However, you might want to share since that will probably improve your general environment.)

Tissues—The Big Box

There are a lot of allergens on college campuses. Especially right around the time to say good-bye.

More Patience

You know the stereo you said would never fit in the dorm room and the Kid insisted on taking? Now you are obligated to schelp it home because (in fact) it does not fit in the room. You’re also taking home a three month supply of clothes,  1,700 shoes, and the 7 big containers you made extra trips to Target for because they Were Essential. Resist the urge to say “I told you so”. Just smile and nod wisely at this Important Life Lesson.

There are probably other good tips. Anyone else have suggestions?

Stay Tuned for photos from Move In Day. As soon as we get them downloaded from Dad’s camera, we’ll share. In the meantime, stay in touch on a quasi regular basis, have fun meeting your new roommate when he moves in today, and enjoy college!

Love, Mom